Tuesday, August 11, 2020

First Days of Art Class 2020-21

Wowza, y'all. School began last week for me with days of professional development and just yesterday for my students and all I can say is that in my 22 years of teaching, I've never had a year like this! And...it's only Tuesday.

Just to give you a little info on what my school district is doing for our elementary students: kindergarten thru second grade have the choice of going virtually or returning in the classroom. If they are returning, they are to be wearing masked, spaced 6' apart and washing or sanitizing hands frequently. My older students in third and fourth grade have the option of being remote or virtual. Remote means that, when allowed, they will be back in the building. My district plans to reassess in two weeks. However, we do have some of our third and fourth graders at school as they may be the children of teachers or learners who need to be with teachers. So, what that means is that every 3rd and 4th grade teacher has about 3-4 children in her classroom and is asked to teach them and her remote learners simultaneously via Zoom. Which is...a lot. 

As for me, I've been asked to prep lessons for all the virtual and remote learners as well as teach my in house students. Because of some schedule overlap, I have not been going live with my remote learners. Instead, I've been providing them with prerecorded videos for them to listen and create at their own pace. 

All that to say...it's been a rollercoaster so far and that was BEFORE the kids even got here. I had to much prep to do for those remote and virtual learners that I nearly neglected my in person kiddos. However, on Sunday, I came in, finished setting up my art room (new room tour to come) and recreated my Rules and Routines video. I was able to salvage the first have of the video (originally recorded in 2017) but had to completely redo the second half as we have new routines to follow. 

Here you go!

On our first day, here is what we do:

* I meet them in the hallway. If you know me, you know that I use the acronym WELCOME on the first day. 
Normally, my students would go straight to the floor and be seated...you can see my USUAL first day routine here. However, this year, we had to do two new things: get our hands immediately sanitized as I demonstrate in the video and go stand on a spot that is 6' apart. In future art classes, we'll go straight to our seats but on that first day, we wait a pinch while we all sanitize and enter the art room.
* I got everyone quickly to a seat. The tables are color coded by messy mats (not sure if they will stay but they are working for now). I also have color coded circle stickers on the back of each chair that has the table color and number on it. My friend Andrew @elementaryarts recommended them to me and I found them on Amazon. 
* Once seated, I do my greeting.
* We learn our Art Class Catchphrase.
* I introduce the Word of the Day.
* We talk about the Open/Closed sign.
* We talk about the Happy/Sad board. 
I did it just like you see in this video...except students were at their tables:

* From there, we watch the video I shared at the top of this blog post.
* We stretch!
* We greet each other and I ask a list of silly questions (more on that in an upcoming blog post!). This you can also see in the video from last year. 
* We review the clean up routine with drums, gong and a table caller.
* We learn the lining up routine...and that's it!

And that...was our first day. I LOVE the idea of doing art in art class on the first day but with 30 minutes and so many new things...this was all I could pack in. I'll share with you what we do on the second day...and I'll continue to share with you as I learn new things about this new art teacherin' world we find ourselves in. Sending y'all hugs. We've got this!
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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

DIY: New Decor for the New School Year!

We are getting new updates on what our new school year will look like...often. And I get it, who knows what our future may hold. I know my school system is trying their very best and I certainly would not want to be in their shoes! That being said...it looks as though I may be in my art room for some of my grades and teacher virtually for others (with the idea that I could be on a cart at some point too). 

One of my favorite things to do to get excited for the new school year is to create something for my art room. I was a little bummed thinking "why bother?!" for the longest time. That is until I decided to change my outlook and create something that could be used for my art room, a cart or even virtually. Here's how I made my new art room/cart/virtual learning sign:
I know things are tough right now but I will say this: creating this sign changed my attitude. It made me begin to think of this new school year as a challenge. As someone who has taught for over two decades, I had gotten pretty comfortable in the way that I teach. Now I have this new, ever-changing, challenge coming my way. I can't control anything about this situation except my attitude. Here's my attempt at doing that. 

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Monday, July 13, 2020

Season 2 of the Cassie Stephens Podcast!

I'm baaaaack!

I took a small hiatus from my podcast back in March when I learned we were not returning to school. Suddenly my focus was on distance learning...and not much else! I had no intention of taking a break but, for me, it was necessary. However, I'm so thrilled to announce that I'm back with two episodes of Season 2! They're titled How to Prepare for the Unknown, Part 1 & 2...kinda appropriate, right? I do hope you enjoy. If you know other teachers who might, please feel free to pass this along. I would also love to read your comments so feel free to leave them wherever you listen to the podcast. Thanks, ya'll!

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Behind My Mask: A Super Kid Self-Portrait!

 Hello, friends!

I have created a lesson for my students and any kiddos who wish to create titled Behind My Mask! When my students return in the fall (and, yes, I said 'when' as I am very hopeful and optimistic), they will be asked to mask-up. We always seem to start out school year with a selfie so I was bummed when I thought of the idea of my students drawing themselves with their best facial feature hidden. And that's where the idea of this surprise drawing came from. Here's a video! Feel free to use and share (with credit given, please and thank you):
I simply used paper, permanent marker, coloring markers and crayons. If I happen to teach virtually this fall, this lesson could also be done by my students at home. 
 This video is a short and simple one...when teaching, I plan to share with my students a variety of self-portraits and talk a lot more about lettering, fonts, skin tones, craftsmanship, good character...the list goes on! As you can see, I'd have a hard time fitting it into a video short enough to capture their attention. So, if you use this video, feel free to add on whatever you wish to include!
No one is excited about wearing a mask but...it's for our safety. And the best thing we can do for our kiddos is to put a positive spin on it, right? I hope to do that with this lesson. Enjoy!
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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Let's Make a Pop-Up Card for Father's Day!

It's time to celebrate dad! All dads: step-dad, grand-dad, uncle who is like a dad...really any dude who makes your life better. It's time to let 'em know how awesome they are! All you'll need is paper, scissors, glue, crayons and markers. Here we go: 

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